Title: Barista Bonus- The Trouble With Eavesdropping
Category: General Story, Humor, bits of Hurt/Comfort
Season: Mid Season 2
Rating: PG
Main Characters: Colonel Jack O'Neill, Captain Samantha Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson, Teal'c, several dozen tall thin aliens, two sleazeball college students and Kira Meyers.
Beta-Goddesses: Thanks to Kath and Liz for all their help and suggestions. And to Lucy who constantly encouraged me to post in little segments and provided just the right amount of enthusiasm for scenes not quite complete.

Author's Notes: This is all Roxie's fault, and thus this entire convoluted little tale is dedicated to her. Roxie asked me why I hadn't written a story about Kira's 21st birthday, which of course got me to thinking -always a dangerous endeavor. And so this little, tiny idea of a story emerged. I was perfectly happy to write a little 8-10 page story, but then Muse got involved. And as those who write know, once Muse gains control, the lowly author has little choice but to hold on tight and see where the road takes you.

This Barista bonus tale takes place between Chapters 17 and 19 and can most definitely be read as a stand alone adventure tale. I have written the story entirely in the first person, but the identity of that person changes from scene to scene. POV headers added for clarity. Not that you won't be able to tell who is speaking within the first few sentences or anything...*G*

Kira will indeed play a role (eventually) but first we need a little angst, a little hurt and comfort and of course a lot of SG-1 banter. Enjoy!


{JACK}

Why do these things always happen to me? For crying out loud, here I am innocently washing my hands when, WHAM, I overhear something I'm really not supposed to hear.

Especially in a restroom off Interstate 50 near Canon City.

Gas station restrooms are notorious for being a) tiny, b) dirty and perpetually out of toilet paper and c) single-stalled. This of course is the reason why I always make sure to go before I leave home. But fate decided to have the gas nozzle hiccup while still attached to my hand, and I wound up with diesel all over said hand. Diesel fumes is just not something you want to smell on an hour plus ride home.

So I head to the bathroom and am rather surprised to discover that all my preconceptions of restrooms are shot to hell. Not only is this restroom quite clean, but it also housed two stalls in addition to a urinal and a couple of sinks. I'm not saying it's posh or anything, but as gas station's go- this one was pretty nice.

I bet it has something to do with it being attached to a Marie Callendars restaurant.

So I'm innocently washing my hands, when I overhear two guys talking behind me. In front of me is a mirror, so I have a pretty good view of their reflections as well. One guy is obviously doing his business, while the guy next to him comfortably chats away. Geeze guy, can't you at least wait until your friend is done? Kids these days, eh?

"So are you going to go?" Standing up guy asks.

"Haven't decided." This would be from peeing-man.

"You know she'll want you to Rick."

Rick? What kind of name is Rick?

"I dunno Jarod, Kree can be pretty uptight sometimes."

Ah man! They are not talking about Kira Meyers, right? God, I hate that nickname of hers!

"It'll be her birthday man! Booze, friends- she'll be positively putty in your hands!"

"Oh yeah, that's what I'm hoping for." Peeing man says lecherously nodding his head.

I so should not be listening to this. And yet I remain glued to this very spot. Funny how these things work out, isn't it?

"But she's not exactly easy Rick," Jarod says sighing as he finishes up.

"Well, luckily for you my-man, you know me!" Rick replies snaking an arm around his friend's shoulders. They ignore me as they meander over to the other sink.

"How so?" Jarod asks washing his hands.

In the mirror I can see Rick smile predator-like at his friend. "I got me some R-2."

"Roofies?!" Jarod replies in a slightly shocked voice.

I haven't a clue what this is, but it certainly doesn't sound good. I'm debating what I can actually do about all of this when I feel two sets of eyes upon me. It appears my presence here is unwanted. Not that these two will really do anything about it. I might only be dressed in civies, but folks can usually tell that I'm Somebody. Maybe not the type of guy that kills false gods on a semi-regular basis, but Somebody nonetheless; I don't get harassed much.

"Hey man, you mind?" Jarod says, standing a little straighter. Once again I thank my Grandpa Mac for passing on those lovely height genes.

"Nope," I reply drying off my hands. I make a quick decision; as much as I'd like to find out exactly what 'roofies' are and maybe beat these two guys' heads together—I'm going to act like the ex-Special Ops guy I am and be sneaky.

I'll tell you one thing though- Kira Meyers is not going to be spending her 21st birthday without an escort. And I know the perfect person to help me out.


{DANIEL}

"You want me to what?" I ask looking at Jack as if he'd suddenly been possessed by a Goa'uld. And in our line of work, these things do happen.

"I need you to infiltrate a fraternity, Daniel."

"You've got to be kidding me Jack!" I reply shaking my head resolutely no.

"Well maybe not a fraternity, but I need you to go play college student."

"No." And I don't even want to hear why. God Jack, what the hell have you gotten yourself into this time? Wait. Forget I asked that.

We sit in hostile silence looking like mismatched bookends as we wait for someone from SGC medical to clear us. Although we were able to take off our grimy jackets, (and it was not my fault this time) neither one of us relished changing into hospital gowns. So here we sit, side by side in our rather ripe black t-shirts and pants that I doubt will ever come clean. Janet may make us change, but I'm hoping she'll just be quick and order us to take a shower.

Shower. God, that word sounds good. After four days in the same clothes, I think everyone within a 20-foot radius of me will be mighty glad when I've had a chance to get cleaned up. I know Sam wanted that shower as much as we did, but it sure would have been nice if it had been our turn to go first. I glance at my watch; we've now been waiting 20 minutes.

My time check does not go unseen.

"Think anyone will notice if we just step out for a few minutes?" Jack asks hopefully.

"I think they'll notice Jack," I reply trying not to sound like I'm talking to a 10 year old.

"Don't you even want to know why Daniel?" Jack asks completely changing the subject and returning to my masquerade as a frat boy.

"Do I have a choice?" I sigh, trying not to sound belligerent. Besides a shower, I need a nice hot cup of coffee. Double tall mocha. With a splash of almond. Kira, I can almost taste your coffee.

"It's for a good reason Daniel." Jack says sounding much more serious than normal. I turn to look at him.

"Ok, I'll bite. Why do you want me to impersonate a college student Jack?"

"Because there's some guys out there that may be trying to drug Kira." Wha? Of all the things I thought Jack could possibly say, that was not one of them.

"Excuse me?" I need more clarification here. Trust Jack to skip the important bits and just go straight for the jugular.

"I overheard a conversation the other day and I think there's a couple of guys who are going to try and drug Kira on her birthday. I had never heard of the drug, but I looked it up on the Internet later." Jack's voice dropped in volume as he told me his findings.

"It's the date rape drug Daniel." I can feel all the color leaving my face. Someone wants to rape Kira? Our Kira? I rapidly shake my head back and forth. No way- that is not going to happen.

"Are you sure they were talking about our Kira, Jack?" I ask hoping he had gotten it wrong somehow. Unfortunately, for all of Jack's faults, (and there are many) he is not predisposed to jumping to conclusions. He is usually very calm-headed about stuff like this.

"Not unless there is another young woman out there who goes by the nickname 'Kree', and happens to be turning 21 next week." Jack says in a dejected voice.

I let out a heavy sigh. Damn, this is serious. "Jack, as much as I think you have Kira's best interests at heart here, running around playing Black Ops Guy, and having ME play the undercover guy, just won't work."

"It will work Daniel," Jack says sounding much more confidant than I feel.

"I don't think so Jack," I reply sounding extremely depressed. I can't pass for a college student! Obviously Jack hasn't been on a college campus in the last 15 years.


{SAM}

God, that shower felt good. I towel-dry my hair vigorously and quickly pull on a clean blue jumpsuit. Although it was my turn to use the shower first, I don't need to make the guys wait any longer than necessary. With any luck they've finished their post mission physicals and are waiting on the other end of the door. As I stuff the rather foul-smelling clothing into a laundry bag, I am once again thankful that the SGC washes all our clothes. I through the bag into the hazmat bin, and pull on my boots. The labeling of the laundry bin "hazardous material" had initially been a joke, but later proved quite apropos and the name stuck. Now all off-world clothing goes through a decontamination period before being laundered.

I work in a very odd place.

I'm surprised that no one is there to greet me as I step out of the locker-room and switch the sign from 'Female' to 'Male.' It's all yours guys. I look around the empty corridor. Although you do need to be around to actually use it...

I am almost to the infirmary when I hear them.

"It will work Daniel," The Colonel says sounding quite certain in his assessment.

"I don't think so Jack," Daniel replies sounding as if he had just been told his dog had died.

"What won't work?" I ask, as I step through the infirmary doorway. There sat Daniel and the Colonel, both stripped of their jackets, and still wearing the same clothes I had seen them in for the last four days. So much for our simple 24-hour survey mission.

"Jack's bright idea," Daniel says dejectedly.

"Whad'ya think Carter? Could Danny pass for a college student?" The Colonel asks, looking at me hopefully.

I give Daniel a critical look, not even trying to reason why the Colonel wants Daniel to go back to school. It's funny, although I see Daniel nearly everyday, I don't often really look at him. Sitting there in his fitted black t-shirt and combat pants, Daniel looks nothing like the Abydosian-robed Archaeologist I first encountered nearly two years ago. Daniel looks… Daniel looks buff! I find myself trying not to smile as I take in Daniel's broad shoulders and slim waist. No wonder he has 'a woman on every planet' as the Colonel so often teases. Daniel is a good-looking guy.

In a brotherly sort of way of course.

"Sam…" Daniel implores, fidgeting noticeably on the bed. I can't help but give him a wide smile.

"Sorry Daniel," I say sincerely. I turn to look at the Colonel. "Post Doc definitely, maybe a grad student, but definitely not an undergrad Sir."

"Why not?" The Colonel whines. I resist rolling my eyes. He really is just a big kid, isn't he?

"Because Colonel, you trained Daniel too well. Look at him!" I insist making a gesture at Daniel. "Daniel has muscles sir. And despite the long hair, he really wouldn't blend in too well with college kids these days, he looks too edgy."

"Edgy?!" Daniel asks in disbelief. "I'm edgy?"

"In a good way Daniel," I say soothingly; he doesn't look mollified.

"Well, what about Sam then?" Daniel asks, giving me a little nod.

Now it's the Colonel's turn to look me up and down. I find it rather disconcerting and more than a tad uncomfortable. Now I know how Daniel felt- wish I'd at least combed my hair.


{JACK}

Carter? I turn to look at Sam and for the first time since that crazy Land of Light mission, I really look at Carter. Damn. Sam's hot. I mean in a good-looking-but-totally-not-my-type-way of course. She's a scientist for crying out loud! But I recognize the fact that even in those baggy coveralls, she'd attract college kids like bees to honey. Tall, leggy blonde? Oh yeah, she'd blend. I bark out a short laugh. There's no way Carter'd pass for a co-ed.

"I don't think so Daniel," I reply finally.

"Why?" Of course Daniel wants to know why. When doesn't Daniel want to know why?

"Because, Carter looks too..." I wave my hands ineffectually in circles. "Too grown up." I say finally.

Now it's Daniel's turn to laugh. "Too grown up Jack?"

"You, know what I mean Daniel- Sam is just too.. classy to pass for a college student."

"I'm classy sir?" Ah man, come on Carter, cut me some slack here, ok?

"Sorry to keep you all waiting." Yes! Saved by the good Doctor. Didn't think I'd ever be so happy to see Doc Frasier.

"You guys know the drill. Sam, since you're obviously the cleanest," She shoots Daniel and I a glance and sniffs her nose slightly, "Why don't I start with you while Daniel and the Colonel have a chance to wash up."

I'm too happy at the prospect of a shower to make any quips.

"Thanks Janet," Daniel says for the both of us. Together we head down the hall towards the locker room. This isn't over Daniel. There's no way in hell I'd blend into the college scene and Carter is just.. well neither would Carter. Which just leaves you. Now all I gotta do is talk you into it.


{DANIEL}

First I let Jack talk me into playing college boy, and now I have the ever so lovely task of trying to find out exactly when and where Kira's birthday will be. Of course, the logical person to ask would be one of her friends. And the only one we know well (and I mean know in the loosest sense of the word) is Stefan.

You so owe me one Jack.

"Hel-lo Dr. Jackson!" Stefan says a little too lecherously for my liking, as his eyes slowly travel up and down my body. I can't believe how discombobulated a 21-year-old boy can make me feel!

"Hey Stefan," I reply trying not to appear ill at ease.

"Kira's not here ya know," he says sounding a little confused. After over a year of coming here regularly, I pretty much know Kira's schedule- and Stefan knows it.

"Yeah about Kira… Stefan, I have a question for you."

"Por Moi?" Stefan says, placing a hand against his chest and batting his eyelashes. Great. He does Miss Piggy impressions as well? Contrary to what Jack believes, I did occasionally have a normal childhood. Even watched The Muppet Show.

I let out a small sigh and shake my head. "Yes, for you."

"Well, why don't I make you a drink and you can tell me all about it?" Stefan says, sounding almost normal as he grabs a stainless steel pitcher of milk.

"Just a tall drip please." I say.

"Ah come on Daniel," Stefan cajoles, sounding eerily like Jack. "Let me use my god-given talents and whip you up something yummy."

Yummy?

"Uh, ok." I guess it was too much to hope for a quick question and answer session.

Stefan doesn't try and talk over the whirl of the espresso machine and for that I'm eternally grateful. Not only was that last mission rather muddy (in addition to being long and cold), but the continuous wind and rain meant we had to constantly yell at one another to make ourselves heard. The silence of the SGC after returning home was nearly deafening.

"I said here you go Dr. Jackson," Stefan repeats again loudly. Oops.

"Sorry," I reply a little sheepishly. Sometimes it's frustrating not being able to tell people why you are behaving a little oddly. Or when you are right in certain theories…

"So what brings you to my neck of the woods?" Stefan asks, giving me a curious look as I pay for my drink.

"I remember Kira telling me months ago that her birthday is in December." I say in what I hope is a casual sounding way. Again, Stefan looks at me oddly.

"Yeah, it's next weekend in fact."

"Really?" I reply, taking a sip of the concoction he has made for me. I can't help but let out a little sigh. Not only is this the first decent coffee in 4 days, but it's damn good as well.

"See?" Stefan says smugly. "Told you you'd like it."

"This is a great drink Stefan." I say honestly. "You guys going to throw Kira a big surprise party?" I ask, steering the conversation back to her birthday.

"Nope. Kree.." He stops and looks at me sharply. I don't even twitch. Ha! See Jack, I can handle myself just fine. Stefan shrugs and continues. "Kree has it all planned. Dinner at Phantom Canyon for her close friends and then everyone she has possibly met in the last two years is supposed to head on over to O'Malleys."

"O'Malleys? I repeat, clearly surprised. Why aren't they staying at the brewpub? Phantom's has a banquet hall and everything! O'Malleys isn't exactly a happening place - more of a local drinking hole for those who like a good steak. I couldn't imagine why Kira would want to go back there. There are plenty of other good bars that cater exclusively to the young 20-somethings of this town.

"Yeah, we found O'Malleys to be an odd choice as well. Later at work I asked her about it and Kree just turned red and said she was there once before and had a pretty nice time. Considering that she's just turning 21 NOW, I figure she was just embarrassed to have been out drinking underage." I nod thoughtfully. At least it's nice to know that my drunken ramblings didn't ruin the experience for her; Jack kidded me for weeks after that.

"O'Malleys this Saturday night huh?" I say, taking another very satisfying drink. "Maybe I'll stop by and wish her a happy birthday." In my mind I'm doing a little calculating. Today is Wednesday and this afternoon we have a mission briefing. Considering that out last mission ended up going three days over, I'm sure General Hammond will give us something light. Which means we'll leave on Thursday and return no later than Friday. This actually might work.

"I'm sure Kira would like that Daniel." Stefan says warmly. Uh oh. I had better watch it- I'm starting to actually like the guy.

"I might be out of town though." I add quickly. "So if you could not say anything to Kira, that would probably be for the best."

"Sure," Stefan replies amicably. Wow. This is a lot easier than I thought.

"Thanks Stefan!" I say, as I grab a lid for my drink and head out the door. "And whatever this concoction is that you made- it's damn good!"

"It's all in the wrist Dr. Jackson." Stefan says grinning widely. Impulsively I head back and drop $5 into the tip jar. "Damn good."

I am almost out the door when I hear Stefan chuckle. "Now I know why Kira likes you so much!"


{JACK}

"Hurry up Daniel, or we're going to be late!" I grouse at our wayward archaeologist as he gathers up more papers.

"I'm coming, I'm coming." Daniel says as he tucks the papers under one arm and grabs a cup of coffee with the other. Speaking of coffee..

"You talk to that fruity kid yet?" I ask conversationally.

"God Jack! Can you be any more un-pc?" Daniel says irritably as he storms out of his office and down the hall.

"Sorry." I say somewhat so. Mostly I make fun of Stefan because it bugs Daniel. I'd never actually tell Daniel this however.

"Yeah, I talked with him. Her birthday is this Saturday, there's going to be a big group dinner for her close friends at 6:30 and then everyone is to meet at O'Malleys at 9."

"O'Malleys?" I repeat a little confused. I stop for a moment to look at Daniel. "O'Malleys isn't exactly known as a hang out bar for kids."

"Yeah, I know," Daniel replies, giving me a small smile. "Seems Kira insisted on O'Malleys. Stefan didn't get all the details from Kira, but apparently she just blushed and said she had good memories of the place."

"You did play the touchy-feely patron Daniel," I kid him, causing Daniel to turn beet red.

"Gee, thanks for reminding me Jack." Daniel says sarcastically. When did Daniel become so sarcastic?

"Yeah, I know. I apologized profusely the next day."

"I'm sure Kira didn't mind Daniel." I say giving him my best Teal'c impression as I try to raise only one eyebrow. Judging from the look Daniel is giving me, my attempt at humor hasn't met with a roaring success.

"Can we change the subject please?" Daniel asks plaintively as we walk into the briefing room.

"You're in luck Daniel," I say eyeing Carter, Teal'c and the General. "Looks like the gangs all here."

"Sorry we're late General," I say in explanation as I make a small motion towards Daniel. Luckily the General is well aware of Daniel's work habits and gives him and the rest of SG-1 a hell of a lot of leeway. More than we probably deserve.

"You're here now Colonel," the General says as he motions for us to sit down. "Let's begin."

Mission assignments are passed out and as usual, SG-1 takes a few moments to eye them over before the General fills us in on the details. I notice Carter's eyes suddenly go wide and then Daniel frowns as he reads something on the preliminary report. Confused, I glance down at the mission I have already been briefed on. It's nothing we haven't done before guys; meet and greet, three-days… oh. Oh.

"Err, General?" I say somewhat awkwardly. Damn- I agreed to this mission last week! How am I going to get us out of it?

"Yes Colonel?" General Hammond asks clearly confused. He sees that both Carter and Daniel are uncomfortable. Hell, Danny is already fidgeting in his seat!

"Sir, I know I already agreed that SG-1 should complete this mission, and I still think we should.." I pause and meet Daniel's worried gaze. "But if it's all right with you Sir, could we save this mission for next week, and take the P2X-646 mission tomorrow?"

"The 24 hour recon mission?" The General questions, more than a little confused.

"Yes Sir." Maybe I'll get lucky and he won't need further explanation.

"May I ask why Colonel?"

Damn.

Before I can say anything more, Daniel speaks up. "It's my fault General," he says hastily. "I sort of made plans for this Saturday and really need to keep them sir."

I can see the General mulling this over. Daniel seldom, hell- Daniel has never asked the General for anything personal. Not that I am aware of anyhow. By saying he needs Saturday off, he's asking for a favor. And I know for a fact that the General will oblige.

"Very well. SG-1 you have a go for P2X-646 tomorrow morning. You leave at 0800 and Colonel O'Neill will brief you on the particulars at 1500 this afternoon."

"Thank you General," Daniel says sincerely. Carter and I both stand up as the General nods and then leaves the room. He obviously doesn't quite understand what has happened, but he trusts me enough to fill him in if needed.

"Thanks Jack," Daniel says pushing himself away from the table and standing up.

"Hey, if you hadn't spoken up, I would have Daniel," I reply simply.

"I do not understand O'Neill," Teal'c interjects sounding completely Teal'c like. "Why are we not going to P2X-928 tomorrow?"

"Long story Teal'c," I reply motioning him to follow me. "How about I fill you in over lunch?"


{TEAL'C}

O'Neill has explained to me why he changed our three-day mission into a 24 hour one, but I am still perplexed by his actions. Could not the Taur'i authorities be informed of KiraMeyer's situation? I know O'Neill is a man of great honor, but why does he feel the need to protect this child when there are surely others who can do so? Although I have lived among the Taur'i for nearly two years now, their actions continue to puzzle me.

O'Neill and the rest of SG-1 are behind me as I take the lead on our way back to the Chapp'ai. We have traveled over 10 miles this morning and have not encounter any civilization to speak of; DanielJackson is most disappointed. CaptainCarter did ascertain that there is indeed naquada in the soil on this world and it has been our finding that where there is naquada, there are usually humans. Unfortunately, where there are humans, there are more than often than not Goa'uld. My thoughts are abruptly interrupted by the squawk of the radio.

"Teal'c do you copy?"

"I am here O'Neill."

"I think I heard something back here," he whispers urgently. I can picture him stopping the team and motioning for everyone to take cover.

"We're definitely being followed sir," CaptainCarter adds.

"T- double back and meet up with us. But be careful!" He orders switching his radio off. I inhale deeply as I absorb his words. O'Neill is a great leader, but sometimes I wish he would remember that I am nearly twice his age and not unfamiliar with my duties as a warrior.

I quickly retrace my steps and am nearly to their position when I hear it- the unmistakable sound of weapons fire. The sound is reminiscent of zat'nik'atels but I do not believe it is. What is most troubling is that I do not hear the retort of Taur'i weapons firing in return. I hide myself and listen.

There are voices. They are not speaking English or one of the dozen or so languages I would recognize as Taur'i. I exhale slowly- it is also not Goa'uld. I am certain DanielJackson would be able to make sense of it, but I however cannot. I need to gain a better position so I can see what has befallen my teammates.

I had just begun to move when I hear a small sound. The alien voices stop talking and I hear movement among the trees. The sound returns and I recognize it as a soft moan; whatever has transpired against SG-1, at least one member of SG-1 is alert.

Without warning CaptainCarter makes her move. From the sounds I hear, she is fighting without the aid of her P-90. I quickly move to go to her aid and am dismayed to see dozens of tall pale humans surrounding her. Dr. Jackson and O'Neill are unconscious on the ground beside her and CaptainCarter is trying in vain to get her weapon to fire.

"Bastards aren't playing fair are you?" She says attempting to shoot them with a zat'nik'atel and finding the weapon inoperable. She throws it behind her, and takes a step backwards closer to her fallen comrades. She picks up O'Neill's P-90 and attempts to shoot, but is again unsuccessful. Whatever weapon was used to render Jackson and O'Neill unconscious, it must also be preventing SG-1's weapons from functioning properly.

I lie silently in the underbrush watching the scene unfold. As much as I want to go to CaptainCarter's aid, I know I should not. If I were to do so, there is a very good chance my staff weapon would be rendered inoperable, and I too would be captured. No, I need to remain hidden and see what they plan to do with my fallen comrades.

I watch with pride as CaptainCarter incapacitates several warriors using the non-functioning P-90 as a staff and her arms and legs as weapons. Both O'Neill and I have worked with her on her unarmed combat and she is nearly as skilled as a Jaffa in her fighting.

Unfortunately it is not enough. They fire their energy weapons several times at her, and although I can see she is weakened, she stoically fights on. One being hits her savagely across her face and she drops to the ground stunned. Before she can get back up another kicks her in the side and then steps heavily on her prone arm. Samantha Carter screams in pain and I wince as I hear the bones break. Mercifully she passes out.

My grip on my staff weapon is tight as I watch as all three are dragged away; silently I follow.


PART 2

{SAM}

Come on guys- wake up already!

We have been in this room/cell for nearly an hour now and neither the Colonel nor Daniel has given me any inclination that they want to wake up. Luckily, I am pretty certain they will soon. After all, I did didn't I?

Fat lot of good it did me…

I'm sitting next to Daniel against a cold stone wall and wishing like crazy they'd left us our packs; heck, I'd settle for just one flack jacket full of all sorts of comforting little drugs.

I'd kill for an aspirin. Well maybe not kill, but definitely maim. And since I'm wishing here- could you make it Tylenol with codeine? Or perhaps some morphine? Yeah, a nice syringe of morphine would be really, really appreciated about now.

A sound shakes me out of my self-pitying mood, and I hear the Colonel groan as he attempts to sit up. He doesn't get very far before he falls back to the cold ground with a gentle thud.

"Uggh."

"How do you feel sir?" I ask pretty much already aware of his answer. Although I had managed to shake off the effects of their weapons rather quickly, I know his nerve synapses are hypersensitive at the moment and he won't be able to move too well until it wears off. Won't be able to see that well either.

"Didn't know I could possibly feel every single muscle in my body Carter," He replies groaning as he attempts to sit up again. "So what hit us and how long have we been here?"

"About an hour sir," I say trying to keep it short. "I think they hit us with a modified electrical current. It wasn't exactly a zat, but the immediate effect was the same." The Colonel has suddenly stopped listening to me as he raises a hand in front on his face and waves it a few times in front of his eyes. He frowns slightly as he does it once again.

"So what's wrong with my eyes?" He asks trying to sound nonchalant.

"The weapon effected our cortical synapses as well sir. Don't worry it's temporary."
Even from across the room, I can see him processing that statement. He looks in my general direction and squints.

"How do you know Carter?"

Time to face the music. "I know sir, because the effect has already worn off with me."

"Their ray guns only effect men?!" I want to laugh but don't knowing it would hurt like hell.

"No, sir. I think it has something to do with the naquada in my bloodstream. I initially went down just like you and Daniel did, but the effect was only for a minute or two."

"Then what happened Carter?"

I sigh quietly. Sometimes being in the military sucks. I really wish I could lie to my commanding officer. "Then Sir, I fought. Our weapons were also rendered ineffective so I resorted to one on one fighting."

"There was only one?"

"More like one on twenty Sir," I reply, sounding tired. I am tired.

"Ouch." He says grimacing before looking concerned. "You ok?" I can seem him trying very hard to focus on me from across the room.

"Fine sir." I reply, putting all my energy into sounding positive.

"Uh huh," the Colonel nods, clearly not believing me. "Daniel around here some place?" He asks looking ineffectually around our prison.

"He's about 20 feet to your left sir, he should be fine once he wakes up." The Colonel looks to the left, doesn't really see anything and then fixes his gaze back towards me.

"Well then, since you're perfectly fine, you won't mind if I come over there and have a look, right?" He doesn't even wait for my response before attempting to stand up. He doesn't get very far before his legs give out and he slumps unceremoniously back to the ground.

"Carter! This is really annoying here!" The Colonel grouses, sounding quite irritated.

I resist getting up and walking over to him as I know it will hurt like hell to do so. "Again, it's temporary sir, you should be back to normal soon."

"Are you able to walk?" He asks seriously. It didn't go unnoticed that I wasn't at his side the moment he woke up.

"Yes sir." Would prefer not to though.

"Well in that case Carter, I need for you to come on over so I can see for myself that you're ok."

"Really sir, I'm fine." I reply lying through my teeth.

"Then you won't mind humoring an old man, will you?"

"You're not that old," I grumble as I gingerly ease myself up using the stone wall for leverage. I crunch my eyes tightly against the pain the movement causes, but can't help the nearly inaudible moan that escapes through my lips. Naturally the Colonel hears it.

"I heard that Carter." Damn. He doesn't sound happy. Well you know what sir? I'm not exactly thrilled either.

I carefully walk the 20 feet or so towards him and ease myself back into a sitting position panting audibly. That hurt! The Colonel shifts his body forward another few feet until he's less than an arm's length away from me and proceeds to squint in an attempt to get a better look at me.

"Whoa! That's some shiner you have there Sam," he says reaching out and gingerly touching the corner of my left eye. I can't help but let out a small grunt in pain. Briefly I close my eyes as I attempt to get my feelings under control. I hate the fact that at the moment I just want to burst into tears. Shock, I'm sure its just shock. And pain. Let's not forget that all this really doesn't feel too good.

"Broken cheekbone?" He asks as he ever so gently wipes away a stray tear from my right eye.

"Probably just badly bruised," I say quietly. God, I hate being the injured one. Not that I would ever wish it on any of my teammates, but I'm so much better at taking care of them than I am of myself. I watch as the Colonel continues to look me over. Of course he doesn't miss the way I'm holding my right arm to my chest.

"And your arm?" He asks looking me straight in the eyes. He looks at me with such compassion, that again I am on the brink of tears. I hate being wounded!

"Broken sir," I reply with a small sigh.

"Anything else I should know about?" He asks as he awkwardly places a hand on my shoulder. He really can't see me that well, and I'm just happy his hand landed on my shoulder and not where it looked like it was headed.

I debate not telling him, but know it will be probably get me into more trouble later on. "I think I might have a broken rib as well." I say unable to meet his gaze. I feel rather than see him nod.

"Medical supplies?" He asks, as he moves his hand off my shoulder and runs it across my collarbone to my neck. He gently lifts my face up so that we're eye to eye. Sorry Sir, no medical supplies. I just shake my head unable to say anything.

The Colonel nods once and makes some sort of decision. "Well then, let's see what we can do about making you more comfortable." He looks around the room and focuses on Daniel.

"Daniel!" He yells.

Nothing.

Feeling around the ground, the Colonel picks up a small stone and chucks it in Daniel's general direction. Surprisingly it actually hits him.


{DANIEL}

"Ow!" What'd I do wrong now? "Jack, I bet that was you." I say accusingly taking in the fact that I'm lying flat on my back on a rather cold floor. I don't even have to look in his direction to know that only Jack O'Neill would throw rocks at me in order to wake me up. Guess I'm not dead. He's usually much nicer when I'm dead.

"Time to wake up Daniel. Carter needs help."

Instantly I bolt straight up and groan aloud as my muscles ache with the exertion. I look around the room and can't make out a damn thing.

"Sam? She's ok, isn't she?"

"I'm right here Daniel." Sam says a little to my right. "I'm fine. Your eyes should return to normal soon."

"Nice to know I *didn't* lose yet another pair of glasses." I attempt to stand up and after one failed attempt, manage to stand on exceedingly shaky legs. I look in Sam's general direction for an explanation.

"Your legs and arms should start working correctly in a few minutes Daniel." Sam says giving me the information I wanted. "The effects are zat-like, only longer lasting."

"Seems Carter got the abbreviated version while you and I were knocked on our asses." Jack explains.

"Lovely." I am able to see two very vague shapes to my right and crawl awkwardly in their direction. The big lump slumped on the ground must be Jack. The figure sitting ramrod straight holding an arm tightly against her chest must be Sam. I shuffle even closer and am able to see the rather colorful and swollen bruises across her face.

"What happened Sam?" I ask in concern. Why'd Sam get hurt and not us? My mind instantly flashes forward to the worst possible scenarios. Before I can even sort out my panicked thoughts, Sam holds up a hand and places it lightly on my shoulder.

"I'm fine Daniel." She says hurriedly. Jack just snorts.

"I will be fine." She says pointedly looking at Jack. "You and the Colonel were knocked out by the electrical current and although I was initially affected as well, I quickly recovered and tried to talk our captors into letting us go." She gingerly touches her swollen face with her left hand. "They didn't like the idea."

"Daniel, do you have any medical supplies on you?" Jack asks hopefully. He knows I tend to stash things in my cargo pants rather than the flack jacket.

And we're in luck. "Yeah Jack I think I do. Hold on a sec." I awkwardly reach into a trouser pocket and pull out a little packet of Tylenol. "It's not much Sam, but.."

"This is great Daniel." Sam says sincerely taking the small packet from my slightly shaking hand. Muscle spasms. Awkwardly she holds it in one hand and rips it open with her teeth, swallowing the two tablets dry. Sam will never say so, but she must be in a lot of pain. I wish we had something more for her

"We need to find something to bind Carter's ribs and maybe something to make a splint for her arm." Jack says explaining Sam's injuries to me. My heart clenches as I imagine the pain Sam must be in. I wish we could have been there for her.

I look around the room, but it becomes blatantly apparent that I can't see more than 5 or 6 meters in front of me. "Sam, can you tell us if there's anything in here we can use?" I ask.

"And while you're at it Carter, give me a little recon on what we're looking at here." Jack adds, clearly frustrated that he can't see either.

"We're in a stone structure about 40 feet square Sir. There is one small window- too small for anyone to crawl through, and a large wooden door. I think this building was used as a storage area Sir. There are bundles of hay in one corner and bags of what must be seed in another."

"Anything long and pointy we can use as a weapon?"

"No Sir." Sam says clearly dejected. She must have already looked earlier.

"What about sticks Sam? Anything we can use as a splint?" I ask.

"Not that I can see."

We sit in silence for a few moments before Jack speaks. "Well, at least we can do something about your ribs."


{JACK}

I am so glad I'm one of those paranoid Colonels. Even though we have (well usually anyway) our packs and flack jackets, I almost always carry a little something extra in my cargo pants' pocket; an army knife. An Air Force knife? We definitely need some better PR.

I pull the knife out of my pants and smile. Not only do we have a way to make Carter more comfortable, but we now have a weapon as well. A very small weapon perhaps- but I've used worse.

"Jack! You have a knife in your pocket!" Daniel says clearly shocked that the good Colonel would disobey his own directive. Several months ago SG-1 had been in a bit of a firefight and had to hightail it back to the gate double-time. Now, I've watched Daniel run- hell, I trained the kid to run. I know he has what it takes to do 400 meters in less than 60 seconds. So imagine my surprise when push came to shove and it was Daniel that nearly got us captured- Daniel and several pounds of needless crap. Video equipment, translation books, cameras...I had told everyone to drop their packs and run and although Daniel did so, he was weighed down by nearly 12 extra pounds of CRAP. After that I ordered him (and anyone else within a 3 mile radius of the gateroom) never to keep anything besides a ration bar and a bandana in his pockets.

"Daniel," I say tiredly as I pull my t-shirt out of my pants and carefully slice a small tear about 1/3 of the way up. "It isn't that I don't like you using your pants' pockets, it's that you tended to put everything in those pockets and that just slows you down." I proceed to rip a good chunk of my t-shirt off and cut it into several long strips.

I close the knife and throw it at Daniel. "We'll need something for her arm as well."

"Look on the bright side Carter," I say trying to get her mind off her obvious discomfort. "With me and Danny near blind here, you don't have to worry about us seeing anything we're not supposed too." Of course, there is still the problem of seeing enough to bind her ribs, but I think I'll be ok.

With one of her arms out of commission, I have to do most of the work, and it feels a little odd to be partially undressing my 2IC. But Carter's a trooper. I help her stand back up as it'll be a hell of a lot easier to do this if she's standing rather than sitting on the ground. I help her out of her jacket and she scarcely makes a peep as we slip her right arm out of the sleeve. I would have preferred to not move her arm at all, but the jacket is just too bulky to push it up and out of the way.

"Sam, did I ever tell you about my first year as a Graduate student at NYU?" Daniel says trying to distract her. He starts yammering on about a crush he had on his T.A. and how his comical attempts at asking her out. I can see Carter is really trying to concentrate on him rather than me, but she is extremely aware of everything I'm doing. She's looking straight ahead and holding herself so rigidly, I'm afraid she might snap.

"I know this isn't going to feel good Carter, but try and relax a little, ok?" I say as I pull her t-shirt out of her pants and carefully pull it up to expose a rather ghastly looking contusion on her right side. The contrast between her pales skin, our green fatigues and the purple shading of her bruising makes it very easy to see. Very, very gently I palpitate around the edges of the bruise trying to locate exactly where she was injured.

"Yes, that is IT Sir." Sam cries out struggling not to pull away from me. I can now notice (and truth be told, honestly see a bit) the way her body is shaking with small tremors.

"Carter, how many times were you hit by those energy beam thingys?" I ask as I tap her left hand to indicate where she should hold the fabric of her shirt.

"I don't know Sir." She whispers as she sucks in a breath as I make my first rotation with the bandages.

"More than once?" I press as I make a second pass.

"Yeah." She says scarcely allowing herself to breathe. Carter, you aren't helping yourself here, if you don't relax a bit!

"More than twice?" I ask again. I feel her nod as I make my third rotation. I've started pulling it tighter now and she clearly doesn't like it.

"It was 4 or 5 times." She says in a rush. "Colonel, I think that's good enough!" Her t-shirt is clenched tightly in her left hand and I can see small beads of sweat on her forehead. She's right- this'll have to do. Having Carter pass out on me wouldn't exactly get me my field medic badge.

"All done Carter." I say tying off the final bandage and releasing the poor t-shirt from her death grip. "You did good Sam." I say giving her a final tap on her good arm. Binding ribs is never much fun, but it helps immensely if there's some nice vicadin or morphine to help you through it; unfortunately we don't have either.

"Thank God." She whispers before allowing Daniel to help her back to the ground. We don't have anything solid to stabilize Carter's arm with, so Daniel uses his bits of t-shirt to wrap her arm as tightly as possible against her chest. The less she is able to move it the better. Clearly exhausted, Carter allows Daniel to wrap her jacket back around her and then accepts his offer to be a human pillow.

"It'll just be for a few moments Sir." Carter slurs, already ½ asleep.

"We'll be fine Carter, just rest." I tell her. Less than a minute later she's fast asleep. Daniel and I share a silent look as we contemplate where we go from here. I'm certain we're both thinking the same thing-

Come on Teal'c!


PART 3

{TEAL'C}

SG-1's captors may be proficient warriors in battle, but they have much to learn about securing their prisoners. I will use this to my advantage.

I have followed the pale inhabitants of this world to a simple village of stone structures approximately 15 miles from the Chap'pai and 5 miles from where my teammates were captured. From my hidden vantage point, I can see women and children moving freely about the village.

The men walk into the town shouting in a language I still do not recognize, dragging my teammates behind them on simple travois's. Instantly the women gather up their children and disappear into their dwellings. These people have a definite fear of strangers and I am certain this is one of the reasons SG-1 was attacked. I know for certain that my friends did not fire upon these people first; that is not the way of the Tau'ri.

My teammates are still very much unconscious as they are dragged into a stone structure. The door is closed and three sentries are posted outside. I slowly nod; pleased at the foolishness of their actions. It should not be difficult for me to free my friends under the cover of darkness. Now all I must do is wait and hope CaptainCarter had not been gravely injured.


"Any change?" Jack asks as he continues to pace back and forth. We both know that the only way out of this place is through the front door, but Jack isn't one for sitting still. Or being locked up come to think of it.

Not that I'm crazy about the idea either…

"She's just sleeping Jack." I say softly as I watch Sam's chest slowly rise and fall. Thank god her lungs weren't punctured. She's been asleep (or unconscious) for the nearly an hour now and Jack is starting to get a little worried. He's not alone.

"We give her another 15 and then wake her up." Jack says abruptly as he stops his pacing and crouches down next to me to check up on Sam himself.

"Wake her up to what Jack?" I ask eyeing the rapidly darkening room. The sun is setting on this planet, which means it's going to get cold pretty soon. Wonder if our hosts will give us blankets?

Sam moans piteously in her sleep and I know I'm not the only one who feels his heart clench at the sound. I think this is really the first time Sam has been seriously injured on a mission. I frown slightly- it's supposed to be me laying here and not Sam. I'm supposed to be the one who gets hurt; Jack is the one to lead us to safety and Sam is there to watch our backs and patch me up.

"Daniel." Jack warns shaking his head. "Just stop."

"Stop what?" I say tiredly knowing full well what he's referring to but needing to hear it nonetheless.

"You're either blaming yourself," Jack begins, "which is frankly ludicrous. Or wishing it were you lying there injured and not Carter."

I let out a 'hmmph' and glower back at him. "Oh and you aren't thinking those same things?" Jack looks a little abashed and I mentally score one point for the geeky archaeologist.

"Noo-oo." Jack says finally as he pauses to consider how to answer. "Well, yes- maybe a little." He concedes letting out a heavy sigh as he glances down at Sam. "But I'm Carter's CO- *everything* that happens to her – to all of you actually- is my fault."

I open up my mouth to vehemently disagree. I mean come on Jack. I trip on a mission and sprain my ankle- how the HELL is that your fault?

Jack holds up a hand to silence me. " I know not everything is completely my fault Daniel." Jack says wearily standing up. "But all of you are my responsibility. When someone gets hurt, I feel guilty, ok?"

Yeah, I know you do Jack.

Jack is almost always the first person I see, after Janet of course, when I wake up in the infirmary after doing something incredibly stupid someplace. I know when it comes to caring for those under his command; Jack takes his job very seriously. Still, he really shouldn't accept culpability for everything. I'm just about to speak again when suddenly we hear sounds coming from outside our prison 'hut'. Not just any sound, but zat fire.

"Daniel, get Carter up now, we've got to move!" Jack whispers urgently as we both come to the same conclusion; Teal'c has arrived. Well, actually it could be someone else from the SGC, or perhaps a Jaffa but..

"Daniel!" Right. Get Sam up.

"Sam?" I whisper carefully giving her a small shake and lifting her head off my leg. I try to ignore the rush of pins and needles coursing through my foot; this can't possibly hurt anything like what Sam must be going through.

"Time to go?" Sam asks grimacing noticeably as she attempts to stand up by herself.

"Time to go." I say back at her nodding briefly and helping her stand all the way up. Sam bites back a moan as I gently pull on her good arm.

"You good Carter?" Jack asks eyeing her critically. At times like this he sounds deceptively like the trained Air Force officer that he is. I forget that sometimes.

"I'll be fine Sir." Sam says with a nod as she cradles her broken arm to her chest. Right. Sam, you could be bleeding internally with two bullet holes and you'd still tell Jack you're fine! Of course, I'd probably do the same, so I guess I'm not one to talk.

"What's he waiting for?" I whisper. We all know it's Teal'c out there, but after hearing the initial zat bursts, it has suddenly become deathly quiet.



"He'll be here." I say motioning for Carter and Daniel to get behind me. I feel pretty ridiculous standing in the shadows armed with a 2-inch army knife, but you work with what you've got.

The door cautiously opens and I spy a familiar dark figure entering the room. I breathe a sigh of relief.

"It is just I O'Neill." Teal'c says as he steps into our ever so comfortable accommodations.

"Good to see you Teal'c." I say gratefully. Teal'c nods and looks behind me towards Daniel and Carter.

"Do you require medical assistance CaptainCarter?" Teal'c asks sounding slightly 'off'. Instantly I realize that Teal'c must have followed us after we were captured, and more than likely that means he witnessed some, if not all, of Carter's beating. I make a note to talk with him about that. Both to know more for Carter's sake, but also to let him know that he did the right thing. It sounded like there were a hell of a lot of those guys and more than likely he would have been over-powered as well.

"I'm fine Teal'c." Carter says stepping away from the wall still clutching her right arm tightly to her chest. "Just ready to leave and head on home."

I give Carter a small nod and see that she really is prepared to walk on out of here. Ya know, for a scientist I wasn't so sure about in the beginning, Sam Carter has impressed the hell out of me. I make a mental note to look into promotion possibilities for our very capable captain. Not only has she saved the planet on more than one occasion, but she's a damn fine officer as well. I give Teal'c a look that implies we'll patch up Carter as soon as we're the hell out of dodge. He nods in understanding.

"What's our situation Teal'c?" I ask as I pocket the trusty little knife and accept T's spare zat. Naturally our own packs and weapons have long since vanished. Shame. Although all of us carry medical supplies, Carter usually has a little something extra in her pack; thankfully Teal'c still has his pack.

"There were three guards O'Neill." Teal'c says in that very straightforward manner of his. One of these days I'm going to be successful in getting the guy to let his hair down. Figuratively speaking that is.

"They have all been rendered unconscious and I believe we should be able to depart unnoticed."

"Sweet!"

"How far as we from the gate Teal'c?" Daniel asks as he steals a glance at Carter. Good question Danny.

Teal'c also looks at Carter. "Approximately 15 miles."

Damn. It'll soon be dark, neither Danny nor I have the best vision at the moment and Carter's injured. "Lets get a couple miles from here and catch a few hours of sleep. We'll hoof it to the gate at the crack of dawn tomorrow." With luck I'd have the kids home by lunchtime. Plenty of time to do a little recon for Kira's birthday thing on Saturday.

"Lead the way Teal'c." I say motioning for everyone to follow. "I have our six."



{SAM}

Thankfully the Colonel signals for us to stop for the night. I could continue walking if I had too, but I really could do with the rest. Daniel has been right at my side for the last hour or so that we've been walking and had he been able to, I'm sure he would have been talking up a storm in order to keep my mind off my discomfort. I scoff at my choice of words. Just a little discomfort is all we're feeling, right?

I let out a small sound as I carefully lower myself to the ground next to a fallen log. The Colonel glances my way and I give him a tight smile to let him know that I'm fine. Well as fine as one can be in situations like these. Daniel's Tylenol has long since worn off and I really could do with a drink of water. I hear the Colonel quietly asking Teal'c about what supplies we have available and then…

"Sam?" Daniel?

"Sam!" I jerk awake and look onto the concerned faces of my friends. Oops, guess I took a little unplanned nap. I notice my upper body is now covered with an emergency blanket. Guess I've been out for a while.

"Sorry." I say hoarsely sitting up and trying not to groan aloud. Shit, I hurt.

"Here, take these." Daniel says handing me three pills and a canteen of water.

"It's probably not as strong as you need, but it's all we got at the moment Carter." The Colonel says apologetically. He and Daniel are crouched down next to me and off to the left I see Teal'c standing watch. The only light comes from a small moon sitting low on the horizon.

"This will be fine Sir." I say accepting the water gratefully and swallowing the pale blue pills. The motion of moving the canteen to my lips hurt like hell and I can't help but grimace as I nudge the canteen upwards again for a second drink.

"Let me help you Sam." Daniel says as he attempts to take the canteen from my still rather shaky hands. Guess that energy weapon takes some time to wear off.

"I'm fine Daniel." I say embarrassed that I can't even take a drink of water without help.

"No Sam, you're not." Daniel says stubbornly. I take back what I thought earlier. Daniel should be the one injured; I am not nearly the mother hen that he is.

I ignore his attempts at taking the canteen from me, force myself to take another long drink without flinching and focus on the Colonel. "How far from the gate are we Sir?"

"At least 10 miles I'm afraid Captain." He replies regretfully. "It's 0200 now and we'll rest another two hours before heading out. With luck we'll make it to the gate by 0600."

It's 0200? Boy, I am out of it. Guess I needed the sleep. It doesn't escape me that my head has begun to hurt. Concussion? That could account for the inordinate amount of sleep and the fact that I really don't feel good. Of course, I've also recently played human punching bag to a bunch of pissed off aliens, so I think I'm allowed to be tired and sore. Still, I don't think I'll bother the Colonel with my little headache at the moment.

"We'll be two hours early Sir." I say attempting to give him a small smile. My face instantly flares in pain and I bite my lip in an attempt to not cry out. I can't believe I had forgotten about my cheekbone. Shit, that hurts! If I look even half as bad as I feel, I'm definitely not going to be going out in public anytime soon. I look the Colonel in the eye and give him a small careful nod. I'm ok Sir. Really. Thankfully the Colonel recognizes my 'Carter-speak' for what it is and gives me a small nod in return.

"You know me Carter," He says trying to once again take my mind off my injuries. "I like to throw the General some SG-1 curve balls every now and then."

"Yes Sir." I say again smiling on the inside.

"Danny here is going to sit next to you Carter." The Colonel explains taking the now mostly empty canteen from my still trembling hands. "It's getting a little chilly out here and you know how Daniel gets when he's cold."

Uh huh. Daniel needs to stay warm. Right. Funny how I never noticed how blatantly obvious the Colonel was about things like this before. Again, it's probably because he's usually trying to sweet talk Daniel into accepting help and not me.

I honestly don't think the Colonel needs to worry about me, but I accept Daniel's warmth gratefully. I pull a corner of the blanket back and Daniel sits down next to me. He then tucks the blanket around us both and leans back towards the log taking me with him. My broken right arm is now nestled between both our bodies and one of Daniel's arms loops around my good shoulder to pull me closer. I'm amazed at how much comfort I am taking from his presence. I guess after nearly 2 years I know that Daniel would do anything and everything to protect me. He still might be a scholar first and a soldier second, but he's a mighty spirited fighter when it comes to people he cares about. I'm inordinately glad I'm one of those people.

"No drooling." Daniel says softly in my hair, causing me to laugh slightly and then grunt in discomfort.

"And no laughing." Daniel chastises.

"No laughing." I agree against his shoulder. I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but sometime in the last two years, I seem to have picked up another brother. I let out a pleased sigh as I allow myself to drift off to sleep.


PART 4

{JACK}

The discussion was not going well.

"For crying out loud Carter, you're still injured!" I say with finality, yelling at my 2IC lying tousled and pale in an infirmary bed. Several nurses turn and glare at me. I haven't had much sleep lately- I glare right back at them.

We had been back from our lovely little 'simple' recon mission for 12 hours now. Luckily, those NBA rejects didn't bother to come after us and we were able to make it back to the gate in pretty good time, all things considered. Carter kept fading in and out on us and I was starting to get more than a little worried. Turns out she had a slight concussion in addition to her other assorted injuries. She had refused Teal'c's offer at carrying her and so our final 5 miles were done at a much slower pace than I would have liked. But seeing as there were no baddies nipping at our heels, I let her set the pace.

I had insisted that Carter go through the gate with me, as I was more than a little concerned with how the whole wormhole cold-thing would affect her battered body. I would have been more than happy to be wrong that time- but I wasn't. No sooner had we stepped foot on the metal grating than Carter crumpled against me like a puppet without strings. I had ordered Daniel to run ahead and tell Doc that we were coming, so Frasier and her nurses were instantly at our side.

"Sir, all I have is a couple of busted ribs, some assorted bruises, and a simple broken arm." She holds up a pristine white cast for emphasis. "Janet just wants to keep me overnight for observation, but I'll be free to go home tomorrow."

"AND a concussion." I add. I hold up a hand to stop her from interrupting. "Which is primarily the main reason you are being held overnight Captain." I can pull rank when needed.

Carter has the good graces to look mildly chagrined. "You know as well I do Sir that it was just a mild concussion and Janet is just playing it safe."

"And I can't agree with the good doctor and play it safe as well?"

"Sir, with all due respect, you're always the one who grouses at the nurses and insists you can heal perfectly fine at home."

"That's right Carter. AT HOME. We wouldn't be going home now would we?" I suddenly freeze and do a damn fine impression of a deer in headlights as I realize how that sounds. Carter looks mildly amused and cocks her head to one side as if to say, 'Well how are you going to talk your way out of this, Sir?'

"What I MEAN, is that DANIEL and I are going to be heading over to O'Malley's tomorrow night and you Captain are in no condition to drink." Ha! I pulled that off quite nicely. Doesn't matter that most likely Danny nor I would drink either.

"I don't have to drink Sir." Carter counters.

"Actually you can't drink. You're on pain meds."

"I won't drink Sir."

"That's good. 'Cause Doc would have my head if you drank while concussed and freshly released from the infirmary."

"I won't drink Sir." Carter says again. Suddenly I realize what she's doing.

"Would you stop that?!" I say louder than I should. "24 hours ago you had the stuffing beat out of you Carter! You need to rest and heal! Besides, have you looked in a mirror lately? You look like a poster child for the affects of spousal abuse." I'm not pulling my punches here but Carter seems to take the whole thing in stride.

"Thanks for reminding me that I won't be going on a date anytime soon Sir." She says drolly, lightly touching her swollen cheek. The entire left side of her face is awash in brightly colored bruises. They look even more impressive now that my sight has returned to it's original 20/20. Luckily she really hadn't broken her cheekbone.

"It doesn't look *that* bad Carter." I say feeling more than a little guilty considering she received all these injuries trying to protect me and Daniel.

"Sir, this isn't an off-world mission that requires me to carry a zat or defend Earth from invading Goa'uld. I know I'm not going to be medically cleared for any of that until my arm and ribs heal and frankly Sir, I can use the time to get caught up on some experiments I've been meaning to run." Sam takes a deep breath, shifts uncomfortably and continues.

"But, I can help you and Daniel Sir. I want to help." Carter is looking at me beseechingly with those wide blue eyes of hers and I absently wonder if she and Daniel talk about the best ways to get me to cave. Maybe they took lessons from Sara.

"Colonel," Sam continues, "without really knowing us all that well, Kira Meyers has helped us out on more than one occasion. This is our chance to return the favor, and I want to be there."

Damn.

I hate it when Carter uses my own sentimentality against me. Hell, Kira saved Jacob's LIFE a couple months ago, no wonder she wants to be part of this. I shake my head in defeat and throw up my hands.

"Fine Carter, you can come." I concede. She grins as best she can with a mouthful of swollen cheek. "BUT, you're staying in the truck. There is no way I'm risking the wrath o' Frasier by allowing you to be jostled incorrectly in a crowded bar."

"I'll consent to that." She says agreeably.

"You'll be on Com- Daniel will be on Point and I'll be the guy to scare the crap out of a couple of punks."

"Sounds like a plan Sir." I can see Carter's eyes begin to droop and decide it's best to let her get some rest. "I'll pick you up tomorrow afternoon Carter." I say as I start to leave.

"What about Teal'c Sir?" She asks snapping her eyes back open.

I turn back around. "Teal'c actually was looking forward to playing the silent big guy in our little production. Considering how guilty T feels over what happened to Sha're, I think he's taking Kira's safety extremely seriously. He wanted to part of this as well, but recognized that he isn't exactly er.. built for undercover ops. A 6'4 ex-Jaffa doesn't exactly blend with Colorado Springs nightlife!"

I see Carter attempting to smile again. She really needs to stop doing that; it's kind of creepy.

"Considering SG-1 won't be going off-world until you're healed Captain, Makepeace asked me if it was ok to borrow Teal'c for a week or so. Seems the Jarheads could really use someone who can understand Goa'uld and being the pig-headed marines that they are, don't believe any of the linguists we have on base can keep up with them. They leave tomorrow morning."

"Not much downtime." Carter whispers. She's rapidly succumbing to Doc Frasier's happy juice and I should go and let her rest.

"You know Teal'c. He's not happy unless he's kicking some Goa'uld butt. Besides, Junior will let him know if he should slow down. I did tell Makepeace that there would be hell to pay if Teal'c isn't returned in perfect condition." Sam nods.

"You should get some rest Captain." I order as her eyes drift close on their own accord.

"Yes, Sir. 'Night."

"Good night Carter."


"How are you doing Daniel?" Sam's voice asks into my not so inconspicuous earpiece. At least I don't think it's very subtle. But then again I have a hat on, so maybe it really is hidden better than I think.

"It's filling up fast in here." I say mumbling into my collarbone. Luckily no one is really paying me much notice. Dressed in a Colorado Avalanche's baseball cap, black t-shirt and well-worn Levis, I'm pretty much blending in just like Jack thought. Feels weird to be wearing contacts though. Jack insisted i needed them for the "role". Sam says I look like quite the lady-killer.

Well that's just swell.

"Heads up Danny." Jack says a little too loudly in my ear. "I see Kira and a bunch of kids getting out of taxis."

"Showtime." I whisper to no one in particular.


PART 5

{SAM}

"Do you see Kira's would-be assailants Sir?" I ask as I hear Daniel muttering to himself. Poor guy. I don't think Daniel has had a lot of experiences in bars. If I didn't look like some Jerry Springer reject (Women Who Fall Down The Stairs Repeatedly), I think I would have insisted on going in instead of Daniel. I bet the guys would be shocked to know how much time I have actually spent in bars. As soon as I learned that mathematics could be applied to the game of pool, I took to the game like a fish to water.

Must remember to challenge the Colonel to a game sometime…

"Nahh," the Colonel answers not taking his eyes off the kids getting out of the taxis. "So far it looks like all the kids from that birthday dinner of hers. I don't think Red and Curly were invited to that."

"Red and Curly?" I ask a little bewildered. I hadn't known nicknames had been assigned.

"Yeah, more descriptive and easier to remember than 'Rick' and 'Jarod'. Rick's the redhead." He momentarily turns away from the window. "Carter, what kind of name is 'Rick' anyhow?

"Rick's a great name Sir." I say smiling at a memory. "I had a huge crush on Rick Springfield in Jr. High." Seeing the confusion on the Colonel's face, I explained further. "He was a singer, Sir. A very cute singer."

"You had a crush on a musician Carter?" The Colonel says sounding absolutely shocked.

"Of course!" I reply. "Why wouldn't have I?"

The Colonel shrugs. "I dunno Carter, I just though your bedroom would have been wallpapered with pictures of Einstein and Hubble or something. You know- smart guys."

"I was a pretty typical teenager Sir. I had lots of crushes on inappropriate people." I really should have kept that last thought to myself. I don't think the Colonel needs to know about my penchant for dating bad boys, although come to think of it he does know about Jonas.

"Sam, you do realize you're going to have to tell me more about these 'inappropriate people' later right?" Daniel whispers with humor into his microphone.

Damn. Forgot the feed was two-way.

"Don't you have teenagers to spy on Daniel?" I ask sweetly into my own headset.

"It's an over 21 establishment Carter, no teenagers in there."

"Right!" I say with a scoff. "As if that keeps out underage drinkers." The Colonel gives me a funny look.

"Daniel," He says into his headset while looking straight at me. "The next time everyone is over at my house for pizza and beer, let's get Carter drunk and pick her brains about her early years. " He gives me a big grin. "Or maybe I should just ask Jacob that next time he's in town."

Daniel laughs softly. "I'd like to see you try Jack. If Sam doesn't hurt you, I bet Jacob will."

"Can we focus on the job at hand here?" I say determined not to blush. We might be Earth's first line of defense, but there are times when the males of SG-1 (well the human ones anyway) really give 3rd graders a run for their money.


{DANIEL}

I have to admit that hanging out at a bar sober is great place to observe human behavior. I've watched complete strangers meet, share a few drinks and then head out the door together. I didn't know anyone really did that! Sure Jack slept with Kynthia after a bit of cake, but it wasn't like he ate that on purpose..

"Order up!" A waitress says loudly to my left. Good! It's about time they had something in their stomachs to soak up all that liquor. This birthday party was definitely not one of moderation.

"If there's cheese fries on the tray, snag me a few, will ya Daniel?" Jack asks into my ear.

"The pizza will be here in 10 Sir."

"Pizza?" I murmur looking around the room casually and trying not to call attention to myself. I had long since stopped talking non-stop into my collar; people were beginning to stare.

"We were hungry." Jack says simply. I can just see him shrugging in that nonchalant way of his.

"The Colonel had to pull rank in order for them to deliver it to the 'white van on the corner of Vine and 3rd.'" Sam says with humor.

"I'll make it worth their while." Jack promises. I can't help but smile as well. "So Daniel, tell us how the birthday girl is doing." Jack asks. So much for my attempt to not become the resident crazy guy…

"Kira looks good Jack." I whisper trying to make myself heard while not moving my lips much.

"Define good Daniel." Jack says with humor. I shake my head. Thank god I know he's teasing me. Even forgetting the part about still being married, Kira is way too young for me. Although had I met someone like her when *I* was 25, things might have been different.

"Well, she's drunk for starters." I say watching as Kira throws back her head and laughs at something someone has just said. She's dressed in the requisite little black dress and I'm a bit stunned at how little that dress really is. Obviously Kira doesn't live with her parents or have any older siblings. There's no *way* they would have let her leave without an escort.

Well, I wouldn't if I were her brother.

She's dressed in heels as well and I can tell they are not something she normally wears. She keeps fidgeting with the heel straps and I'll bet you anything those shoes will be gone before the evening is through.

"How can you be sure?" Jack asks. Well gee Jack, it might have something to do with the fact that I am keeping a very close eye on her alcohol consumption.

"Third drink." I mumble as I watch another tray of empty martini glasses pass by. So far I have seen Kira polish off a vodka cranberry (Cape Cod, Sam informed me), a pinkish drink in a martini glass (Cosmopolitan) and now the bartender was pulling out vodka (Absolute Citron) in order to make several 'Chocolate Cakes.'

"Chocolate cake?" I whisper aloud as I watch the bartender add Frangelico to the vodka. These drinks are getting crazier and crazier. Frangelico?

"Ooo, those are dangerous." Sam says knowingly into my ear. I keep forgetting that they can hear what I can.

"Chocolate cake, Carter?" Jack asks. "What kind of name is that for a drink?"

"It's a cocktail Sir, they all have strange names."

"Whatever happened to normal drinks like rum and coke or vodka and tonic?"

"I'm sure they still exist Sir."

As entertaining as Jack and Sam are, I interrupt with a little description of what's going on. "He's pouring them into martini glasses rimmed with what looks like rock salt." I say wrinkling my nose slightly. Something that tastes like chocolate mixed with salt? That's just plain nasty.

Sam laughs. "It's sugar Daniel."

"Well, that sounds better anyhow." I mutter. As I watch the tray of drinks make their way over to Kira and her friends, I listen to Jack tease Sam about her knowledge of bar drinks.

I'm just about to pipe in with a little ribbing of my own when I suddenly feel a hand on my shoulder; a very large, hard hand.

"So what's the deal here on your stalking-thing?" A gruff voice says behind me.

"Crap!" Jack says into my ear. I'll second that Jack.

I slowly turn around. Glaring menacingly at me is the bartender. I cock my head to one side and squint my eyes slightly. I know the contacts are the same prescription as my glasses, but I feel the need to squint regardless. Actually he looks rather familiar to me. I think he's usually the guy on duty when Jack and I stop by on occasion. I don't know how anyone can honestly gain weight on MRE's. They taste atrocious and Jack and I have gotten into a tradition of stopping by O'Malleys for a steak dinner after longer than normal missions.

Those seem to happen at least twice a month.

"Uh.." I begin, trying to think of something to say. For the team linguist, I am sometimes surprisingly reticent. I honestly don't know how I should answer him. A little help here would be nice Jack!

"Hey! I know you." The bartender says losing his scary man face. "You're that archaeologist fella who comes in here with that Army guy.

"Air Force." Jack and I say in unison. The bartender just waves his hand into the air.

"You're harmless!" He says with a chuckle. I don't know if I should be offended by that or not.

"So what are you doing playing the stalker?" He asks genuinely interested.

"Tell him." Jack orders into my ear.


{JACK}

"Ooo, I see the pizza guy Carter!" I say taking off my headset and opening the van door. Daniel has started his explanation to the bartender and Kira just started her latest round of drinks; we should be good for a couple of minutes.

"Sir!" Carter admonishes. "Don't you think you should help Daniel out here?"

"You're still listening, right?" Carter nods.

"So what's the big deal? Danny's our top linguist for crying out loud! I think he can handle explaining why he's," I hold up my hands and make little quotes signs, 'stalking' a 21 year old woman." Carter doesn't look too happy but she nods her head and goes back to her listening.

"We're over here!" I call out to the bewildered teenage holding a large pepperoni pizza. I pay for the pie and give the poor guy a 50% tip. What the hell, it isn't like I have a lot of time to spend the money I do make.

"Dinner Carter!"


"So how's our boy doing?" The Colonel asks as he takes a second piece of pizza.

"Looks like we have O'Malley's wait staff on our side as well Sir." I say taking another swig of my diet coke. It was thoughtful of the Colonel to remember the beverages as well. "John, the bartender, is going to keep an eye on as many drinks as he can, and he's going to talk to some of the waitresses on break about what to keep an eye out for."

"That's great Carter!" The Colonel says as he picks up his night vision goggles and does another scan of the parking lot. So far Red and Curly have yet to make an appearance. But then again, it's only 10.

Suddenly the Colonel drops his pizza onto the paper plate and after hastily wiping his hands on his jeans, picks up his headset.

"Daniel!"

""Yes Jack? Daniel replies in that tone of voice he uses when he's just humoring the Colonel and he'd really rather be doing something else.

"They're here."


PART 6

{DANIEL}

They're here.

Ok, I can do this. I mean how hard can it be? I've faced down System Lords for crying out loud! Merde. I'm starting to channel Jack. I shake my head and focus on the problem at hand.

All I need to do is keep an eye on Kira and make sure she doesn't drink anything given to her by one of the guys. While maintaining a low profile so that neither Kira nor her friends recognize me.

Right.

Ever try to keep an eye on someone in a really crowded bar? I listen very carefully as Jack describes Red and Curly once again. I think it's ludicrous that he assigned them aliases when we actually know what their names are.

"Red is wearing black jeans and something red underneath a dark leather jacket. He just put out a cigarette and.. Shit! Daniel, he's tapping the top of his jacket pocket and grinning at Curly. He's definitely brought something he's not supposed too."

Damn. I was really hoping that one of them would come to their senses and not try something like this.

I make eye contact with John, the bartender, and nod my head in the general direction of the front door. Both of us watch as two young men walk inside. John raises his eyebrows in question and I nod affirmatively. Yeah, these are indeed the guys. Indeed! Now, I am sounding like Teal'c.

I really should try and make some friends outside of SG-1.

I stand up and slowly start making my way closer to Kira. I've pull the baseball cap down low so that anyone giving me a casual glance won't really recognize me. The odds are pretty good that Kira is drunk and since she isn't expecting me, I won't really register with her. But Stefan is a different story.

I had watched the flamboyant Barista come in an hour or so ago and judging from the way he was looking around the room, I have a funny feeling he's on the lookout for me.

Wonderful.

I watch 'Red' and 'Curly' as they go to the bar and order a couple of drinks. Just two I note. They meander over to a far corner and watch Kira and her friends from afar.

Kind of like me.

"Hi." A voice says beside me. Grudgingly I take my eyes off the pair in the corner and glance at the voice on my right. I nearly drop my ginger ale (in a tumbler glass) at her feet. I honestly didn't know that women could dress this way in a public place.

"Uh, hi." I say in return. The woman smiles and it's slightly predatory. She *so* knows how she must affect men. And being a man myself, I'm afraid I am not immune. To quote something Jack told me not too long time ago, 'You might be married Daniel, but you sure as hell aren't dead.' I smile self-depreciatively, well, not today anyhow. I can't believe I'm joking about the number of times I've died or been presumed dead.

It is a very twisted universe we live in.

"You here with anyone?" The woman asks. Idly I wonder how her dress stays in place. I mean *obviously* her breasts play a role in that, but you'd think moving about would be a bit problematic. Red is definitely her color though.

"Say yes Daniel." I hear Jack whisper in a sing-song voice into my ear. I know I'm turning an embarrassing shade of crimson at the moment. It's one thing to be hit upon; it's something completely different to have it happen in front of witnesses.

"Yes." I say glancing back at the two young men to make sure they're still in the same place. I watch as they hold up a hand and beckon for a waitress. Damn. They're ordering more drinks.

"Oh!" The woman says clearly surprised. "I'm sorry! I usually don't make these kinds of mistakes."

I suddenly hear Jack's baritone laughter bellowing through me earpiece.

"Sir!" Sam admonishes. She might be telling Jack to stop, but I can tell by the tone of her voice that she's smiling as well.

"Sorry, sorry." Jack says quickly getting himself back under control. "Daniel, tell the nice lady that it's all right, this type of thing happens to you all the time."

"Colonel!" Sam says disapprovingly. "Daniel," she says in a softer voice. "The woman believes you're Gay."

"I'm what?!" I sputter aloud nearly dumping my drink.

"It's ok honey." The woman in red says to me as rests a hand on my chest. "You experiment all you want with the other team, just come on back when you're ready for a real woman."

I know my mouth is agape as she gives me one final pat on the chest and sashays off towards the bar.

"Told you, we shouldn't put him in jeans that tight Carter." I hear Jack say. Thankfully, Sam stays completely silent. I try to put this whole embarrassing moment out of my mind as I turn back towards 'Red' and 'Curly'.

Uh oh. I look frantically around the room.

"Jack!" I say loudly not caring if anyone stops and stares. "Get the hell in here!"


{JACK}

"What?!" I yell back. Daniel sounds spooked and that isn't a sound I particularly enjoy hearing.

"They've split up!" He pants sounding like he's about to hyperventilate. What the hell is he doing? I wish we'd sprung for some video cameras as well….

"Who's split up?" I counter looking at Carter for help. Kira? Red and Curly? The Harlem Globetrotters? I need something more to go on Daniel!

"The Bobbsy Twins Jack!" Daniel yells, "Who the hell do you think?!" Red has taken off towards the bar and the other guy is approaching Kira."

"I got Red, Daniel. You just keep the punks away from Kira." I hastily rip the headset off of my head and give Carter a firm look.

"You stay put!" I order.

"Yes Dad." Sam says rolling her eyes. Rolling her eyes?! Isn't that subordination?

"Carter…" I growl as I open the van door. We rented a van. How more cliché can we get?

I hate clichés.

"Sorry Sir." Carter says blushing slightly. Well at least I think she was blushing. Hard to tell under all that color on her face. "You'll need this Sir," she says throwing me a spare earpiece awkwardly with her left hand.

"Thanks."

"Try not to kill anyone, ok?" Carter calls out as I close the door behind me. I think she's kidding, but I idly contemplate the idea.

Nahhh- the paperwork alone would be a bitch.

"Daniel, I'm on my way!"


{DANIEL}

'Not good, not good. not good.' I think to myself as I hastily make my way through the crowd towards Kira and her group. The bar wasn't nearly as packed an hour ago- where the hell did all the people come from?!

"Sorry."

"Pardon me."

"Hey!" I can't believe someone just pinched my ass!

Out of the corner of my eye, I catch sight of Jack coming in through the front door. We instantly make eye contact and I nod my head to the left to indicate the direction of Red. Jack nods and signals me to stay put and… hold my fire? No wait, that's a different signal. Stay put and keep low? Damn! I have GOT to learn those hand signals better!

Curly has blended back into the crowd and unless I want to make a total ass out of myself, I should concentrate on Kira and not worry too much about him. As long as she doesn't drink anything given to her by one of the guys she should be ok. Instantly I tell myself that ANYONE can spike a drink, hand it to another person and then hand it to Kira. But I can't control everything here. What I can control is..

Merde! harah zarba beeshor…*

Someone has just given Kira a drink. And off to the left I see Curly smiling slyly as he turns and heads off towards the restrooms. Let Jack deal with him as well, I have got to stop Kira from drinking that drink! I whip off the baseball cap and stuff it awkwardly into my back pocket. (stupid tight jeans!) I hastily run a hand through my hair and hope to god I don't have bad breath.

I know what I need to do.

I'm only slightly breathless as I pull up short behind Kira. Her back is turned away from me and she is holding what is most likely a drugged beverage in her right hand. She's laughing at something and lifting up her drink in order to take a sip…


{KIRA}

Daniel Jackson is kissing me.

Holy mother of God, Daniel Jackson is kissing me. I know I'm drunk, but I plead to whatever gods may be out there to not let me be so drunk that this memory is lost come morning. I feel like a character out of a bad romance novel as Daniel dips me low giving me the sweetest, gentlest kiss I've ever had. Not really certain if I had settled on a birthday wish prior to this moment, but from now on I will *so* wish for a Daniel Jackson kiss on every birthday. There's nothing 'R' rated about this kiss (darnit!), but that doesn't stop my toes from curling and for other more hidden areas of my anatomy to suddenly become all warm and tingly.

My latest drink tumbles carelessly out of my hand and I vaguely register the sound of broken glass as I lose the ability to do anything except absorb Daniel Jackson and his kiss. I know it couldn't have lasted more than a few seconds, but I swear several hours passed before he pulled his lips from mine.

"Happy Birthday Kira." Daniel whispers again smiling against my ear as he effortlessly lifts me back up into a vertical position. I take a shuddering breath in and am assaulted by the scent of Daniel's aftershave. Naturally, he smells good as well.

In the background I hear Stefan and some other friends from work making some rather colorful comments. Back off boys, he's all mine! Well, for the moment anyhow.

I stare into Daniel's amazingly blue eyes and try to remember to breathe. I always knew he had gorgeous eyes, but never before had I seen him without those large glasses of his. Thankfully, Daniel still has an arm draped loosely around my waist, I'm pretty certain I'd be flat on my ass without it.

Daniel's face is quickly morphing into one of concern, as I stand there completely speechless. This man has rendered me utterly speechless. Come on Kira! Say something! I look into those pretty blue eyes of his and open my mouth.

"D..Daniel?" I stutter aloud.

Oh yeah. I'm in complete control here.

"Happy birthday." He says again giving me a small smile as he steadies me once more before removing his hands. Damn. I really liked them where they were.

"Thanks." I say thankfully stutter-free. I take a moment to really look at Daniel. It's a wonder I hadn't noticed him earlier. He's dressed in a rather tight black t-shirt and these wonderfully worn Levis and although I knew Daniel was a guy who kept himself in shape, I honestly hadn't realized he was *that* in shape. Whoa.

Suddenly I find myself extremely thirsty. I lick my lips.

"Sorry, you spilled your drink." Daniel says apologetically. It's odd, but I get the feeling he really isn't sorry at all about that.


PART 7

{JACK}

Daniel you dog!

I can't believe what I'm seeing here. Daniel is not only doing a damn good impression of a Casanova, but that dip move of his is sweet! If I ever find myself having a semblance of a social life again, I am *so* going to remember that move. Poor Kira. The kid looks completely shell shocked. Daniel is never going to hear the end of it. At least not from me! I can't help but grin a little as I watch as Daniel carefully releases one completely dazed Barista. Danny, you did good.

Now it's time to clean house. Or at least kick a little collegeic ass.

I put on my scariest Colonel face and cautiously open the bathroom door. The punks might be barely out of their teens, but that doesn't mean they can't cause some damage. I'm heading into this unarmed; a crowded bar in no place for a loaded weapon. I know it's the right call, but I feel a little naked without my trusty P-90 or at least a handgun. A zat would be perfect, but that wasn't exactly an option here…

Red is standing against the back wall doing looking absolutely nothing like James Dean as he lights up a cigarette. I let out a small snort of disgust as I look at the No Smoking sign directly above his head.

"So I take it reading isn't a prerequisite for college huh?" I say conversationally as I take several steps towards him.

"Huh?" Red says looking up.

"No Smoking." I say pointing to the sign.

"Go away Old Man." Red says with all the glorious bravado of youth. God, kids are stupid.

I take another couple of steps towards him and shake my head. "It says No Smoking." Before Red can even so much as blink, I grab hold of the cigarette and flick it into the sink on my right.

Red stares at me as if I've grown a second head. Actually, it's a little like how we looked at Daniel when he came back from that alternate reality and we were all pretty certain he was nuts.

"What is your PROBLEM dude?" Dude?

"My problem," I say as I take the final step into his personal space and shove him hard against the wall. "Is that a son of a bitch and I'm really not allowed to kill you."

Red's bravado slips several notches with that statement and I can see some definite fear in his eyes.

Good.

"What the hell do you want with me, man?" He says struggling to escape my grip.

"I want so many things from you JAROD." I say as I reach into his jacket pocket. "Beating the crap out of you is definitely on the top of my list." I feel the thin plastic bag beneath my fingers and pull it out. "But barring that, I'll just see what you have here."

"You're robbing me?!" Red says incredulously. I just shake my head. Nope. Guess again. Suddenly the genius realizes that I had just called him by his given name; he jerks his head back slightly completely confused. "How'd you know my name?"

"I know all pond-scum who carry drugs." I say slapping his face not so lightly with the bag of little white pills.

"Shit man, that hurt!" Red says as he again struggles to escape my grasp. What a pansy! This kid wouldn't last a week in basic training. Hey! That's an idea..

"What are these?" I ask keeping my voice completely devoid of emotion. It's a little scary how quickly I can return to being the bad-ass O'Neill of a couple of years ago. I've always been a pretty good Officer, but after Charlie…

Let's just say I wasn't a very nice guy after my son died.

Red looks at the pilfered baggie and shrugs. "Never saw it before." He says trying to look nonchalant as he gives me a lazy smile. I swear to god, if I weren't an Officer I'd wipe that smug look off his face in two seconds flat.

"Right." I say tightly. "So you wouldn't mind if I were to take these to a lab and say, test them for barbiturates or amphetamines?"

"Fuck man, you a cop?" He still doesn't look as scared as I would have liked, but he is beginning to look wary.

"You should be so lucky." I say pocketing his stash. I step even closer towards him so that I'm now towering over his slight 5'8 frame. Geeze, even Carter is bigger than this punk. I smile slightly at the image of Carter beating the crap out of this kid. Apparently Red here has taken my smirk for something else.

"You're not going to rape me, are you?" He asks as his voice betraying his emotions as the kid finally shows a decent amount of fear. His eyes begin to dart wildly around the room as he frantically searches for a way out.

"No, I'm mot going to rape you!" Jesus Christ, *this* from the guy who was planning on using a date rape drug on a girl? I grab a firm hold of Red's jacket and shove him none too gently against the wall.

"Tell me what's in the bag." I say very slowly as I glower at him with what I know are very cold eyes.

"They're just some happy pills, man." Red says dejectedly. Now that he knows his ass is safe, he's back to being just surly.

"Happy pills?" I repeat.

"Yeah, you know- just something to help you relax a little."

"To help you relax, or to help a girl relax?" Suddenly the kid gets it. He takes in my hard set eyes and Do Not Joke with me demeanor. He knows why I'm here.

"Fuck!" He gasps as he struggles again to get out of my grasp. "You're Kira's Dad!" Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of young men, than the possibility of being found out by her old man.

Not even attempting to set the kid straight, I continue. "So you admit to these being 'reefers' and that you had planned to drop a couple of these into Kira's drink."

"I only have the drugs man, Rick's the one who's planning on using them." And he turns over on a dime. Nice to know these two are such close friends.

Behind me I hear the door open and quickly I lean forward and wedge my knee forcibly against the kid's scrotum. He makes one wrong move and he'll be singing soprano for a week. Judging from his wide-eyed look, he knows I'd most definitely do it.

"Plumbing's backed up." I say conversationally over my shoulder as my grip tightens on Jarod's shoulder. I mouth the words, 'Do Not Speak' and the kid nods his head rapidly up and down in understanding. I hear the door open and close again and focus my attention back to Red.

"Here's what I need you to do for me Jarod," I begin as I ease my knee back from between his legs. Jarod looks at me unhappily and I see resignation behind those light blue eyes of his.

And then I see his eyes flare back to life with hope. Hope?

Crap! I realize what's going to happen just microseconds before it does. I can't *believe* I was so stupid. I whirl around to face what I know must be Curly.

The good news is that I stopped the knife from stabbing me in the back. The bad news is that I couldn't prevent it from stabbing me in the front.

"God Dammit!" I roar as instinct takes over and adrenaline floods my senses. I quickly knock the knife out of his hand and in a move that would have made Teal'c proud, lay the kid flat on his back in less than three seconds. I resist the urge to beat his face to a pulp.

Barely.

I can't believe I let this sorry son of a bitch stab me!


{SAM}

"Colonel!" I shout into my headset. "Sir, talk to me! Tell me what's happening in there!" All I hear is muttered cursing and the sound of something, or rather someone, being knocked to the ground.

Obviously the Colonel has other problems on his mind. I think this is only the second time I have seriously regretted being a female officer with the SGC. There is just no way I can casually walk into the men's restroom and see what's going on. Besides the obvious gender issue, I know I'm a little scary looking at the moment and would stick out like a sore thumb the second I step inside.

"Daniel!" I call into the headset. "Daniel, the Colonel needs a little backup in there!" Although Daniel was not on the right frequency to hear the Colonel's little chat with Jarod, he clues in on my tone of voice instantly.

"Kira, we'll talk again soon." He says quickly. "Have a great birthday and don't forget to take a cab home!" He calls out as I hear him rapidly walking away.

"He still in the bathroom, Sam?" Daniel asks softly under his breath.

"Yeah." I reply. "Daniel, he's not alone in there."

"Gotcha."

Several seconds pass as I listen to conversation fragments as Daniel makes his way across the bar. Suddenly he stops up short and I hear someone curse at him as Daniel obviously bumps into someone.

"Whoa!" Daniel says.

"What's going on?" I ask.

"Head's up Sam, Red just ran right past me and is on his way out the door as we speak." I glance up from my console of electronic equipment, and sure enough, there he was exiting O'Malley's front door.

"You get the Colonel." I say into Daniel's ear. "I've got Jarod." With that I pull off my headset and open the van door just as Jarod comes stumbling down O'Malley's front steps and straight into me. It's funny how readily I now call this kid Jarod. Pseudonyms are great for ephemeral individuals, but once we see them face-to-face, calling him anything but his real name just seems stupid.

"Going someplace?" I say trying to sound casual as I block his only effective escape route. Behind me is a line of taxis waiting to take drunken partiers home and all around me are parked cars.

"Jesus!" He says as he looks up and catches sight of my face. "What the fuck happened to you?" Apparently I'm scary looking enough to make him forget his wild run from the bar.

"Inability to communicate." I say casually shrugging. Jarod looks at me like I'm crazy and tries to push me aside. I stand firmly in his way and only flinch slightly as he shoves hard against my ribs as he attempts to get past me on the left. Hopefully he didn't hear my small grunt of pain. I grit my teeth tightly and slowly exhale. Christ that hurt!

"Get out of my way lady!" He shouts clearly frustrated.

"What's your hurry?" I ask. I really hope this guy just stands down. Daniel didn't think we should bring our weapons and surprisingly the Colonel agreed. Still, what I wouldn't give for a nice trusty Beretta at my side.

Jarod again looks around the darkened, nearly empty parking lot. The few taxi drivers visible all seem to have their heads down as they either read newspapers or attempt to catch a little sleep. In the dim moonlight, I see him pause and slowly turn back towards me. He stares at me coldly.

"Get out of my way, Bitch." He ducks his head down like a quarterback and attempts to zigzag past me. Silently I apologize to Janet and bring my casted right arm firmly down against the top of his head.


{DANIEL}

I can feel Kira's eyes on my back as I slowly open the bathroom door. Jack is sitting against the back wall of one of the stalls muttering to himself as he unbuckles his belt and pulls it out of the loops. The unmoving form of what can only be 'Curly' lay sprawled a few feet to Jack's left. In the center of the bathroom a bloody knife stands out starkly against the gleaming white floors.

This can't be good.

"Jack?" I call out softly as I take a step towards my friend. I have learned the hard way that it is never a good idea to sneak up on one Colonel Jack O'Neill.

"Huh?" Jack says awkwardly twisting around to look at me. "Daniel?"

"You were expecting someone else?" I reply lightly as I walk the remaining distance and kneel between Jack and Curly. I can now see that Jack is bleeding from a gash just above his waist band and am more than a little worried about the young man lying face down off to my left. My hand is surprisingly steady as I reach out and place two fingers against Curly's neck. I let out an audible sigh of relief as I find a strong steady pulse.

"I'm the one injured here Daniel!" Jack gripes as he hands me his belt and motions for me to bind Curly's hands.

"No offense Jack, but seeing as you're Special Ops and all that, I was a little worried you might have killed the guy." I say as I wrap the leather belt several times around Curly's hands and then buckle it together.

"For crying out loud Daniel, I do know the difference between a combat situation and a bar fight!"

"I know you do Jack." I say turning around to face my friend. "But I could see at a glance that you would probably live, and the guy lying unconscious on the ground was an unknown. See, a friend of mine has been trying to drill it into my head that I need to secure the area and make sure all non-coms are accounted for and safe before taking care of myself and my team."

Jack grumbles as he eases himself onto his knees. "I did say something about the importance of protecting teammates if they're injured."

I help Jack stand and wince slightly as I catch sight of the not so insignificant tear in his leather jacket.

"I believe you said, 'If one of us is downed with a staff blast, make sure we're out of the line of fire and concentrate on the enemy or retreating to a safe location.'" Jack was about to interrupt when I continued, "AND when I said something about needing to make sure the injured person was ok and giving medical aid, YOU replied that medical attention can wait until the enemy had been neutralized or a more secure location found."

"You actually LISTENED to me?" Jack asks incredulously as I pull his jacket apart and ease his t-shirt out of his pants. I lift up the disconcertingly damp material to get a better look at his knife wound.

"I listen to you Jack." I say as I eye the three inch jagged tear across his abdomen. "I might not always agree with you, but I do listen." I automatically reach down for my trusty bandana only to realize that I'm not wearing my BDUs.

"I don't think I'm in danger of bleeding to death Daniel." Jack says sardonically as he raises his eyebrows slightly at our predicament. The lower half of his t-shirt is saturated in dark blood and although he is right in the fact that he probably won't bleed to death, we still should do something to stem the flow.

"Even so Jack, we probably should stop the bleeding first before you walk out the door and scare the hell out of all the patrons."

"Point taken." Jack says nodding as he looks around the room. We both note the roll of paper towels above the sink but prior experience has taught me that those sheets aren't particularly absorbent. I look down at my own jeans and t-shirt and curse the fact that I didn't bring in a jacket of my own. Well actually I did, but it's currently lying on a barstool somewhere.

"Jack, I know it's cold out. And I know the whole loss of blood thing is going to make you colder, but you need to lose the jacket." I'm already pulling my own skin-warmed t-shirt over my head.

"Daniel," Jack says clearly confused as to why I'm suddenly shirtless in a cold bar bathroom. " I know you are proud of your newly formed pectorals, but I have a set of my own and since mine are more impressive, you really should put your shirt back on."

"Jack, quit being an ass." I say shivering slightly as I help him ease his arms out of his sleeves.

"You realize if Kira were to walk in right now, she'd probably faint at the sight of one shirtless Jackson."

I refuse to blush. "Gimme your jacket Jack." I say tiredly as I pull his jacket away from his body with one hand and press my mostly clean t-shirt firmly against Jack's knife wound with the other.

"Ow!" Jack hisses as he glares at me.

"Sorry." I say apologetically. "You got this?" I ask as I ease back on the pressure I'm applying.

"Yeah." Jack says as places his bloody right hand over my own. Ew. Thanks Jack.

I pull my hand away and quickly rinse it off in the sink before pulling on Jack's jacket. I try not to think about the cool breeze I feel through the jagged tear or the tacky slickness of Jack's rapidly cooling blood against my bare stomach.

I am about to ask Jack if he's ready to leave when we both hear Sam's voice in our ears.

"Colonel?" Sam says sounding slightly breathless. "You all right?"

"Just Peachy Captain." Jack says giving me a look.

"Sam, Jack's been stabbed." I add receiving yet another patented Jack O'Neill glare.

"Sir!" Sam says clearly concerned.

"I'm fine Carter- just nicked." Jack says shaking his head slightly as if daring me to contradict him.

Fine Jack! Have it your way. "Sam, what about the other kid?" I ask as I glance down at Jack's assailant.

Neither Jack nor I miss the long pause before Sam replies. "He won't be bothering anyone else this evening."

"Captain..?" Jack asks clearly curious as to what Sam is talking about. Before Sam can explain any more, we both hear the telltale sound of fire sirens in the distance.

"Sir, Daniel," Sam says hurriedly as the noise of the sirens draw closer. "I realized neither of you were going to walk out of that bar unnoticed, so I called in a little backup."

"Carter, what the hell are you talking about?" Jack asks. At that moment the loud shrill of an emergency fire alarm is heard throughout the building.

"I called the bar and chatted with John, the bartender guy who offered to help us out. He was the one who thought tonight might be an excellent evening for a little live action fire drill. He then called a friend over at Local 17 and the rest Sir, is history." Sam shouts over the din of the alarm. Outside we can hear scared voices and knocked down chairs as everyone rushes to find an exit.

"The fire fighters are cordoning everyone to the left of the building Sir." Sam yells. You and Daniel as free to exit through the kitchen and walk around the back towards the van."

"Sweet." Jack mutters. "You did good Captain!" Jack shouts as he motions for me to grab the unconscious Curly. I'm not exactly enthusiastic as I bend down to hoist the unresponsive man over my shoulder. Unlike his friend, this kid was fully-grown and probably weighed as much as me. I had just finished hauling him semi-upright and was preparing to throw him over my shoulder when he begins to stir.

"Who the fuck are you?" He asks belligerently as he grimaces painfully and rubs his head.

Before I can say anything Jack turns around. "Remember me?" Jack shouts as he gives the younger man an absolutely scathing look. Curly stays silent and glares back at both of us. He hasn't failed to notice that his wrists are bound.

"Move!" Jack orders as he opens the door and watches as the last of the patrons exit through the front door. He looks back and gives me a small nod as he takes point and walks out the door. I gently push Curly out ahead of me. I have not forgotten that this is the guy who wanted to rape Kira, but at the moment he is incapacitated and not in a position to make trouble. I'm just not vindictive enough to kick a dying horse. Thank god.


{JACK}

Well this didn't exactly go down like I imagined, but any mission you can walk away from is a good mission. Or something like that.

I open the final door to the outside and pause a moment as a wave of dizziness hits me. I steady myself by using the railing to my left and shoot Daniel what I hope is an encouraging look.

It isn't like I'm really all that injured. In the grand O'Neill scheme of things, this little scrape barely registers. Still, getting stabbed in the gut isn't exactly on my list of ton ten things to do during downtime. I ease the pressure off of my belly and am thankful the bleeding has mostly stopped. I grunt slightly as I again apply pressure and take a moment to look down at the multitudes of bar patrons, fire fighters and of course the curious locals.

It IS a mess. There must be at least three fire engines parked in the main lot, and scores of nervous people are standing on the sidelines looking worried and anxious. Fire drills are major buzz killers.

"Hey!" I hear Daniel shout as I turn around and catch Curly trying to make a break for it by leaping over the stairs. Daniel quickly follows suit and I'm rather pleased to watch as Daniel catches up with the kid and grabs him none too gently by his jacket collar and knocks him down on his ass. The kid stands back up and glares at Daniel but doesn't try to run away again.

"Carter!" I shout into my radio. "It's a little nuts out here. Can you give us a sign as to where you are?" And Carter, bless her heart, does just that. A faint beam of light suddenly appears not too far from us on our right. It moves in a tight curve in our general direction and then is turned off.

"Gotcha. Stay put Captain, we're on our way."

I carefully maneuver myself down the stairs and after making certain Daniel has everything under control with Curly, walk the short distance to our ever so clichéd white van.

"Hey Carter." I say casually as I walk up to where she is chatting with John the bartender. Off to the right I see a rather surly looking Red handcuffed to a bike rack. He's holding a bag of ice to his head.

"Sir!" She says turning around to face me. Her eyes widen slightly as she takes in my short sleeved attire and the way I'm holding what is obviously Daniel's t-shirt against my middle.

"First things first Captain." I say sounding all military in front of our guests. "Report."

"Yes Sir." Carter says nodding. Carter is a damn fine 2IC. She can read me better than just about anyone and unlike Daniel, actually follows nearly all of my orders. With her left arm, she throws Daniel an extra pair of handcuffs and motions for him to lock Curly up next to Red. Daniel happily complies.

"The firefighters are finishing up with their drill and are encouraging all the bar patrons to call it a night and head on home." She grins as she looks at Daniel. "I think Kira has definitely had a birthday she'll remember Daniel!" Daniel blushes and looks over at John.

"I suppose you saw the whole thing huh?" Daniel says addressing John.

"Oh yeah!" John says with a big grin. "I think over half the bar saw your Don Juan impression my young friend."

"Great." Daniel says clearly not happy with the notoriety.

"Ah, don't be too hard on yourself kid." John says giving Daniel a gently cuff on his shoulder. "You prevented your friend from being drugged, right?"

Daniel stands a little taller. "Yeah, I did."

"So what are we going to do with them Jack?" Daniel asks pointing in the direction of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

"Well, Carter and I got Red's confession on tape and I have the little happy pills in my pocket so it's pretty much a done deal that these two are going to jail." I say looking pointedly at the two idiots arguing with one another.

"AND," John adds cheerfully. "I had Delores use a fresh sponge and bag what she cleaned up that spilled drink of your girlfriend's."

"She's not my girlfriend." Daniel says hotly.

"Your friend who happens to be a girl." John amends holding up two hands to ward off Daniel's wrath. "Which means, it really is an open and shut case against them." I am very happy to see the would-be rapists suddenly freeze in mid argument as the realization that they really could be going to jail sinks in.

I turn to the pair. "Actually, I have a little proposition for you two." I say slyly as I walk the dozen or so steps to where they are leaning against the bike stand. "You can go to jail where I'm certain two young strapping youths such as yourselves will be very popular for the 3-5 years you remain in prison." I pause to let that little image work its way into their psyches. "OR you can spend just one night in a holding cell and allow yourselves to be escorted to the local army recruiting center. From there you will have a 24 hour escort until you are firmly ensconced in the vigorous fun that I like to call Basic Training."

"You're telling us we have to join the military?!" Red asks in amazement.

"Oh no!" I say holding up my slightly bloody left hand in assurance. "You have a CHOICE of joining the military. You don't HAVE to join. You can CHOOSE to go to jail and become play toys to lovely men called Bubbah or Leroy. Your choice." I then walk away to give them some time to think about that. I know what they'll choose.

"I like how you think my friend." John says giving me a grin and a small nod. He then spies my, or rather Daniel's bloody t-shirt and frowns. "You need some medical attention?"

I waive him away with my free hand. "Nahh, I'll be fine. Thanks for all your help John." I say sincerely. I start to hold out my left hand and then stop. It's one thing for me to bleed all over Daniel; it's something completely different to do so over a virtual stranger.

"You take care Colonel." John says giving me a final nod as he walks off towards the firefighters.

"Colonel," Carter says lightly touching my elbow and leading me back in the direction of the van. "Why don't you have a seat here and let me take a look at that."

"It's just a scratch Captain." I grumble more for show than anything else. I know I need to have it looked at; I just don't want anyone else to think I need to have it looked at. I sit where Carter asks me to sit and allow her to remove both Daniel's thoroughly ruined t-shirt bandage and my own blood-drenched undershirt. For such a little wound, it sure did bleed a lot.

"A little more than a scratch Colonel." Carter chastises as she tuts over the jagged tear in my flesh, cleaning it with that horribly stinging peroxide and then applying butterfly bandages across three separate points.

"Janet may want to stitch this Sir." Sam says apologetically as she fastens the last bandage in place and then wraps my abdomen three times with an ace bandage to hold everything in place.

"Déjà vu." I say smiling. It couldn't have been more than 24 hours ago when I was doing the exact same thing to Sam. Speaking of which..

"How are you doing Carter?"

"I'm fine Sir." Sam says a little too quickly.

"Uh huh." I reply clearly not buying it. Carter then excuses herself and pops into the van for a moment. She returns holding a clean t-shirt and three Tylenol.

"It's Daniel's." She explains. That's right! Daniel was going to crash at my place after we dropped Sam back off at the SGC. Daniel might not like it when I get all father-figure on him and insist that he come and stay with me after a particularly nasty mission, but he still would rather sleep in my guest bed than the SGC any day of the week.

I'm awfully glad about that.

"Sam!" Daniel says in a shocked voice as he rounds the corner from where he was talking with Red and Curly. "I can't believe you did that!" Did what? Daniel stares and Carter and Carter stares right back at Daniel. I say again; did what?

"Kids?" I say slowly as I down the Tylenol with cold coffee. Blech.

"Sam knocked Red unconscious with her cast!" Daniel says flailing his arms around, clearly shocked beyond words that she would do such a thing.

"Come on Daniel, it's not a big deal." Carter says clearly embarrassed. Inside I'm grinning like an idiot. Carter, brained the guy with her casted arm? Way to go Sam!

"Not a big deal! Sam you could have seriously hurt yourself!" Daniel says in a huff as he carefully grabs hold of her injured right arm and gently rotates it first to the right and then to the left.

"Aha!" He says as stops his movements and points to a spot on her arm. "It's cracked!"

"Carter?" I say as I gingerly stand up and make my way over to where she and Daniel are standing.

"It's just a little crack Sir." Carter says in explanation. "I'm sure it's not anything serious." She turns back towards me. "Sir would you please put your shirt on! It's bad enough we have Daniel here looking like a Playgirl Pinup dressed in leather, we don't need young co-eds falling for you as well!" I'm going to blame that little outburst on Carter's meds. Daniel's blushing 6 ways to Saturday and I'm suddenly feeling very cold.

And more than a little naked.


{JACK}

"So Jack," Daniel says as I pull on my (or rather his) t-shirt. Doc Fraiser was allowing me to go home tonight, but only if Daniel drove and only after I had promised to return tomorrow for a follow up. I had indeed needed a couple stitches (all right- 6) but Doc was more worried about how dirty the knife (and Daniel's t-shirt) might have been and wanted to put me on some antibiotics to counter any potential wiggly things that might want to harm me. When don't wiggly things want to harm me?!

Fraiser was more pissed at me for letting Carter mess up her pretty cast. Sam had to have the whole thing redone and only after several new x-rays and some rather angry-sounding words directed at both me and Carter. I was actually quite happy to have Nurse Hendrikson put in my stitches; Janet was in a mean mood.

Red and Curly had been picked up by Colorado Spring's finest at around 11 and I was quite happy to use my rank and status to expedite the whole process. Carter, Daniel and I only gave the briefest of statements before the pair had been hauled away. I'd work with Army recruitment tomorrow to get them into the next basic session. One officer noted that I was Air Force and asked why I wasn't going to enlist the pair into my own branch of the military. I had just looked at him as if he was nuts; I don't want them anywhere NEAR my branch thank you very much!

And Kira? Well, that last I saw, her friends were helping her into a cab. She kept looking around the parking lot obviously looking for someone. And I'll bet you dollars to donuts I know who.

"Yes, Daniel?" I say in my patient Colonel voice.

"I've been thinking…" I resist rolling my eyes. Daniel, you're always thinking.

"About?"

"Something John said." Daniel replied as he helped me lace up my boots. It's funny; we don't even give this lacing of boots thing a second thought. Between Carter, Daniel and myself, we've had 7 dislocated shoulders, 13 bruised or broken ribs, a dozen sprains and 3 staff blasts too many. Which means, all of us are quite comfortable having help lacing up our boots. If you're going to be macho about the pain and discomfort, you've got to pick your situations. Lacing up your boots is just not one of them.

"John the bartender?"

"Yeah."

"He said something to me right before after he figured out who I was."

"It's been a long night Daniel," I reply as we leave the infirmary and walk down the nearly silent corridor. "I'm going to need a little something more to go on."

"He called me harmless." Daniel says as we reached the elevator.

"Harmless huh?"

"Jack, I'm serious!" Daniel says clearly upset. "I've been on SG-1 nearly 2 years now and have seen things and done things most people can't even imagine! How is it that a complete stranger can call me harmless?!"

The elevator arrives and we step in. We ride in silence through several levels before I speak.

"Daniel, you said it yourself; you've seen things and done things the rest of the world probably can't even fathom. Hell, you've died probably more times than any human on this planet and you're still here! You've kicked Goa'uld ass and SAVED the frickin' world for crying out loud- why should you care what some guy in a bar thinks about you?"

Several more floors zipped by while Daniel pondered my latest outburst.

"You're right Jack." Daniel said eventually as he shoved his hands in his pockets and sighed. "I'm not harmless."

"That's right." I agree as the elevator doors open and we step outside into the cool night air. "Harmless is just not a word I'd use to describe you Daniel." Anyone who had ever judged Dr. Daniel to be just 'harmless' usually changed his mind pretty damn quick.

Daniel opens up the passenger door for me and I ease myself into the front seat. Daniel gets into the drivers seat and starts the engine. While waiting for car windows to defrost I suddenly remember something.

"Daniel did you ever read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?"

"The Douglas Adams book?"

"Yeah."

"A long time ago, but yeah, I think I did. He's the guy who wrote about how you should always bring a towel with you when you roam the galaxy, right?"

"Right." Obviously Mr. Adams had never met a Goa'uld, otherwise, he would have insisted on a zat.

"Remember what the definition of Earth was?" I ask. Daniel suddenly smiles. A large carefree smile that I don't think I've seen in months.

"Harmless!" He exclaims grinning from ear to ear.

"And so Dr. Daniel Jackson, Linguist, Archaeologist and general pain in the ass to all things snakey, I say to you this…" Daniel is about to put the truck into drive but stops for a moment and looks expectantly as me. Of course he knows what I'm going to say, but I have to say it regardless.

"You're not 'harmless' Daniel."

"I'm not." Daniel agrees with a smile.

"You're mostly harmless." I can't help but grin at him as I reach a hand over and affectionately tousle his hair as he puts the truck into drive and heads out of the base.

"Mostly harmless Spacemonkey, mostly harmless."


Finished July 6, 2003.

And so this concludes the Barista Bonus- The Trouble With Eavesdropping. Season 3 stories will begin anew in early August 2003. Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing! Muse appreciated it!


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